A HEARTWARMING tribute has been paid to a former Dunbar RNLI volunteer who risked his life to save a friend.

The lifeboat crew took to social media today (Friday) to highlight the loss of Arnold 'Noll' Togneri, who passed away earlier this week.

A spokesperson for the volunteer crew described Mr Togneri as "an instantly recognisable figure around the town" and someone who was "always willing to lend a hand, pass on gentle words of wisdom and encouragement, or share historical nuggets and tales of Dunbar".

They said: "To illustrate the kind of person Noll was, when he was 16 he helped save the life of his friend Joan Scambler, then 14, after the canoe she was in capsized off East Beach back in April 1965.

"Joan and her friend Linda Sinclair had borrowed the canoes from Noll and a friend.

"Conditions had been calm but quickly the girls got into difficulties.

"While Linda managed to reach the shore, Joan was struggling to control hers.

"Grabbing a canoe, Noll set out to help, while his friend alerted the coastguard.

"Noll reached Joan but as he tried to turn her canoe towards shore it capsized sending her into the water.

East Lothian Courier: Tributes have been paid to Arnold 'Noll' Togneri, pictured in 2022, who received a special watch for saving Joan Scambler's life.(Photo: Paul Togneri)Tributes have been paid to Arnold 'Noll' Togneri, pictured in 2022, who received a special watch for saving Joan Scambler's life.(Photo: Paul Togneri)

"She tried to hang onto the stern of his canoe but it too sank, leaving them both in the water.

"Although they were being blown further out, Noll managed to keep Joan afloat until Dunbar’s lifeboat crew – in the Watson-class lifeboat Margaret – arrived.

"Both Noll and Joan spent the night in Dunbar Cottage Hospital at East Links but were none the worse for their ordeal.

"For staying with Joan, even when she implored him to leave her and swim to the shore to save himself, Noll was awarded an inscribed watch, which he received from Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent.

"History repeated itself, as Noll’s dad, who was also called Arnold, had previously received an inscribed silver half hunter pocket watch for saving someone from the harbour mouth when he was 16."

Mr Togneri went on to serve on the lifeboat crew and later as Deputy Launch Authority (DLA).

The spokesperson said their colleague would be "much missed and fondly remembered".

They said: "Many of us at Dunbar RNLI only became aware of Noll’s heroics in 2022 when Joan, who had sadly passed away a year earlier, left £14,000 to the station in her will.

"Thanks to Noll’s bravery and the swift action of the lifeboat crew, Joan went on to live a full life, excelling at hockey and swimming and becoming a popular musician and singer in the town.

"From all at Dunbar Lifeboat Station, our sincerest condolences go to Noll’s family and friends.

"Our thoughts are with you.

"Fair winds and following seas, Noll."